Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, visited Tonbridge last week amid growing pressure to combat anti-social driving in the town’s car parks.
Along with MP for Tonbridge & Malling Tom Tugendhat, he announced outline details of an ‘action plan’ to deal with the nightly compilation of honking horns, wheel spinning and speeding coming from the Sovereign Way car parks.
“I’ve been talking to Julia Chapman, the Chief Superintendent, along with other local officers and the borough council to see what changes they can put in place, in addition to the action they’ve already taken,” said Mr Scott.
One of the measures under consideration is increasing the use of dispersal orders, which was used by the police in the car parks last month [September 8]. This gives police the power to demand individuals leave a designated area and not return for up to 24 hours.
A breach of any order to disperse is a criminal offence and will lead to arrest. This measure has also
been used along the High Street to deter young people from gathering along there.
While Mr Scott did not promise any additional deployment of officers, he pledged to ‘put whatever extra resources we have into tackling this problem’, adding:
“Fundamentally, it’s about residents reporting these incidents to us so that we can get an idea of the severity of this problem and catch them in the act.”
The meeting was arranged after the MP wrote to Mr Scott in response to numerous complaints from his constituents about the noise as well as dangerous driving on the surrounding roads.
One frustrated resident who contacted him was Scott Dench, who has grown impatient with the impact on the life of him and his son. “It’s keeping kids awake when they have school. It’s been a problem for a few years, but especially from March.”
Citing the numerous messages he had received from local residents, Mr Tugendhat also confirmed the ‘incredibly noisy’ activities, which he hears most nights from his office just around the corner on Vale Road.
The MP said anti-social behaviour in the town had ‘been on the rise recently’, but he was confident that the police had enough funding to deal with the situations.
“I think a lot of it is to do with the allocation of resources, which is something I speak to the police about regularly.
“This is a challenging community, as many are, but you can’t fix everything immediately. New problems come up and you can’t always predict things,” he said.